the appetizer:

New Zealand's cuisine is Pacific Rim, influenced by European colonists, Asian and Polynesian traders and immigrants, and its indigenous people, the Maori. Typical New Zealand foods include lamb, pork, venison, seafood, sweet potato, kiwi fruit, tamarillo, feijoa, and pavlova, the national dessert.

Global Destinations

New Zealand

Maori & English Words &Phrases

For those used to American English, the language of New Zealanders—be they of Maori or British descent—can be perplexing.

If you like ketchup with your fries, ask for "tomato sauce" (ketchup also exists, but it's completely different from American style). Beetroot (red beets) is slapped in almost everything, including all hamburgers, so if you don't like it be sure to specify "no beetroot." French fries are called "hot chips," potato chips are just called "chips." Tea can mean a cup of hot tea or a complete dinner—confirm the exact meaning before you accept an invitation! Napkins are called "serviettes."

Here's a few other examples:

English Terms

Aussie—Australia, or an Australian

biscuits—cookies (scones are similar to American biscuits)

big smoke—city

cheesed off—mad at someone or something

choppers—teeth (e.g., "Sink your choppers into this, mate!")


bathroom—literally the room with bath and basin (the toilet is usually separate—see cloakroom)

cordial—a bottle of concentrated fruit-flavored juice, which is reconstituted into a drink by adding water

crook—ill, not feeling well

cuppa—usually refers to a cup of hot tea

dairy—small shop selling dairy products, snack foods, a small selection of canned foods, newspapers, often open when everything else is closed in the area but more expensive

deli—delicatessen, a more expensive version of a dairy

entree—a small appetizer before the main course of the meal

gallon—the New Zealand imperial gallon is larger than the American

greengrocer—fruit and vegetable shop

hotel—a public bar; accomodation is a secondary income source

kiwis—what New Zealanders call themselves; after the kiwi, a flightless bird and the national symbol

milk bar—a shop selling dairy products, hot snacks, canned food, sweets and candy bars; open longer hours than most shops and on weekends.

peckish—a bit hungry

takeaway—food to go, to take home

trundler—shopping cart


Maori Terms

haera ra—farewell

haere mi—welcome

haka—war dance and chants performed by the men

hangi—Maori feast where the food is cooked/steamed in an earth oven

Hawaiiki—legendary homeland of the Maori

kumara—sweet potato



pakeha—foreigner, white person, European

puna—spring of water



New Zealand

New Zealand Recipes

Find additional recipes and information on the Australia page

Back to the main New Zealand page

New Zealand on Wikipedia

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This page modified January 2007